Russia raw sugar imports set to double in '10
13 января 2010 года
MOSCOW, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Russia, the world's No. 2 raw sugar buyer, could almost double imports to 2.25 million tonnes next year, with the bulk of shipments likely to coincide with a much lower import tariff in the summer, a senior official said.
"We preliminarily estimate imports next year to be 2.235 million tonnes, maybe 2.250 million," Andrei Bodin, chairman of powerful industry lobby the Russian Sugar Producers' Union, told Reuters in an interview.
Russia's sugar import tariff will fall to $140 per tonne from Jan. 1, 2010 from the current $165 and it may fall further, to $50 per tonne, from May to the end of July.
The union's estimate falls in the middle of the range forecast in November by the Institute for Agricultural Market Studies (IKAR), which sees Russian raw sugar imports of between 2.0 million and 2.5 million tonnes next year.
Russia, second only to the European Union as an importer of raw sugar, refines more than half the sugar it consumes from domestic beet and most of the remainder from imported raw cane.
The country has adopted a three-year programme for its beet sugar sector aimed at cutting the share of the sweetener refined from imported raws to 33 percent in 2012 from 43 percent in 2009.
But the programme indicates only top-end targets and will require $500 million in investments over the three years, as well as favourable weather conditions.
Russian sugar imports will be regulated from Jan. 1, 2010, by a new customs union with Belarus and Kazakhstan.
Members of the union have set common sugar import tariffs, but Kazakhstan will be able to import raw sugar duty-free for domestic needs in 2010-2019, provided that raws and white sugar refined from them will not be shipped to Russia and Belarus.
Belarus will have the right to export up to 150,000 tonnes of white sugar to Russia per year free of tariff under a mutually agreed quota.
The Russian Sugar Producers' Union expects Russia to increase domestic beet sugar output to 3.30 million tonnes in 2010 from 3.15 million tonnes this year due to an expected rise in the sowings area, Bodin said.
This is less than the Russian beet sector development programme target, which is set at 3.73 million tonnes.
Bodin estimated the three countries of the customs union would produce a total 3.94 million tonnes of white sugar from domestic beets and 2.67 million from imported raws in 2010.
Russia would refine 1.9 million tonnes of sugar from raws, Kazakhstan 440,000 tonnes and Belarus 330,000 tonnes, he said.
Total consumption of white sugar by Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan is estimated at 6.09 million tonnes in 2010, of which Russia, with its population of 142 million people, would consume about 5.3 million tonnes, Bodin said.
Kazakhstan, with a population of 16 million, would consume 440,000 tonnes and Belarus, with 10 million, another 350,000 tonnes, he said.
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